Bangladesh cricketers arrive in Pakistan amidst tight security

Mahmudullah Riyad (AP)
Mahmudullah Riyad (AP)

Lahore  - Bangladesh's cricket team arrived in Pakistan late Wednesday for a three-match Twenty20 series on a tour only finalised after wrangling over security concerns.

The Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) had initially refused to play Tests in the country, saying they were only willing to take part in Twenty20s after Dhaka granted permission just for a short tour, their first since 2008.

But two days later, a meeting between Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani and BCB president Nazmul Hassan, with mediation by International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Shashank Manohar in Dubai, led to a agreement for a tour in three phases.

Bangladesh will play three Twenty20 internationals - all in Lahore on Friday, Saturday and Monday before returning home.

They will come back twice for two Tests - in Rawalpindi from February 7-12 and then in Karachi from April 3-9.

This is Bangladesh's first tour to Pakistan in 12 years, having last played a five-match one-day series and Asia Cup - both in 2008.

The team, led by all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyadh, was whisked off to a hotel in central Lahore under heavy security.

Some 10,000 policemen and para-military personnel will guard the team from hotel to the Gaddafi stadium for the three matches and practice sessions.

Former captain and senior batsman Mushfiqur Rahim withdrew from the tour over security fears.

Pakistan have gradually hosted international cricket after visits were suspended in 2009 following attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, which left eight people dead and several visiting players injured.

Pakistan were forced to play home matches in the neutral venue of the United Arab Emirates.

Pakistan gradually hosted various limited over series between 2015-19 before Sri Lanka played two Tests in December last year, the first in the country for ten years.

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